In light of this morning’s events, our weekend service schedule is being adjusted as follows:
You’ve likely seen on the news that Liberty Bible Church was a victim of arson overnight. An explosive was thrown through a window into the nursery. The sprinkler system was immediately turned on and the fire was quickly extinguished, however, there is extensive water damage to the lower level of the church. Please pray that our response to this situation would honor God. Pray for the individual who is responsible for this crime, as well as all the emergency crews who responded, and the crews who will be coming in to clean-up damage.
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
More information to come as it becomes available.
"Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." 1 Corinthians 11:1
Do you remember that day when you realized that your life was not your own? You know what I am talking about. That day when you saw how your life fits into God's plan and you got the picture that your life matters? Maybe you are like me and don't have a specific time and place embedded in your memory. Perhaps it seems like you always had an understanding that your life was part of something bigger than yourself.
Regardless of when you came to that knowledge, the fact is that part of the process is stepping up and taking responsibility for our actions. In doing so, we can then live authentic lives in which our actions are both a blessing to God and others. No more hiding behind excuses for bad decision making, procrastinating, or simply not doing what we need to do. We "own" our stuff. Period.
I think many today, Christians and non-Christians alike, lead lives of quiet desperation or futility because they cannot see how they fit into the "bigger picture." They are stuck in lives that have no significance or power because they don't understand how they are one part of the whole fabric of God's plan for humanity.
I believe that for some, they have never taken ownership for their actions and cannot understand how the outcomes they are experiencing are directly related to them. Bad choices lead to bad outcomes which lead to a life of frustration and mediocrity.
Taking responsibility used to be expected as part of the journey to adulthood. Today, we see people avoid responsibility. Whether it's in the home, work, government, or church, it's not uncommon for people to do the minimum, expect to be served, and take the credit while others do the hard work. It's a shame really when you consider that whole generations are spinning their wheels trying to do so little while avoiding owning their stuff. If they just hunkered down, took responsibility, and worked hard, they would see progress in so many, if not all, areas of their life.
It is easy to see where other people are not doing what they should be doing. What's harder is being honest with ourselves. Are we stepping up and owning our own stuff? Are we being a model for people to emulate?
I think about the apostle Paul when he said in 1 Corinthians 11:1, "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." It is applicable in this area of life just as much as in the context of Paul's letter to the Corinthians. We are living examples to those around us. If we are responsible and owning our stuff, then others will see and will have someone to refer to as they struggle to step up and own their life choices.
I would go so far as to make the case that, in this day and age, responsibility and ownership of your choices are such foreign concepts to so many, that we cannot assume they even know how to get out of the rut. This is why those of us who are doing better in this area need to encourage those in our lives to set a higher bar for themselves and then show them the way. Some people are naturally more responsible but most people need to learn what responsibility looks like. We may be the very person God intends to use in a specific person's life to help them get the traction they need.
So with that in mind, do you own your life choices? Are you being responsible? To be used by God, we need to ensure that we are stepping up and taking responsibility for our own actions and their consequences. If so, would you consider being someone who might come alongside another and help them get to where you are at? Don't be afraid...chances are they’re afraid too! But God can use you mightily in the life of another person if you are willing to be humble and make your life an open book.
You've done a good job of stepping up, so now go and step out into the life of another person and show them what it looks like! Then step back and watch them bloom.
If you are participating in this weekend's fundraiser iCan 5k/10k Race to help benefit the Alaska Teen Mission, we want to let you know that registration has been moved back to 9:30am. So sleep in a little longer this Saturday and we will see you at the park!
I've been very blessed to have had a number of men and women and my life who have played the role of mentor. I can confidently say that I would not be the follower of Jesus, husband, father, and friend that I am today without these relationships. The generous amount of time and effort these people have poured into my life has paid back dividends that are immeasurable.
I remember Chuck Solazo, my 5th grade Sunday School teacher. He poured into me and other boys a love of God that I remember to this day. Things could be rough at home, but Mr. Solazo was always there, ready to listen, and give words of advice. I saw in him that a strong man loved God and his family and gave of himself out of that love. Others in my church life have given me similar examples of what it means to me a strong man of faith - Herbert, Rick, Kelly, Dick, Dante, Jeff, Steve, Gary, Terry, and others. All of these men played a decisive role in my life in times when I needed the wisdom that comes from experience.
I think of Judith, a wonderful woman of God who I had the privilege of serving with in ministry. She always had an ear that was tuned to the Holy Spirit and as she listened to me, she always had a steady, strong word for me that would cut through my own self-deception. Her kind and loving spirit encouraged me to never put the demands of the day above the needs to my family, friends, and those God called me to shepherd. She and other women - Sue, Helen, Loreene, Donna, Jackie, Kathy, Sandra, and many others have been used by God in powerful ways to either keep me on the right path or set me off on it.
I mention these folks because there were times when I didn't appreciate what was happening. I wasn't present in a way that allowed me to fully absorb what they were trying to teach me. I have come to see with a clarity that only time can give how much they loved me and through them, how much God loved me. These people were grinding off the rough edges of my life.
Proverbs 27:17 reads, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."
I experienced this reality through these relationships.
We all need friends and mentors in our lives. People who will lovingly hold us accountable and help us get on the right path. We too need to be these type of people for others. A true friend will walk with someone and show them the way when they are lost. In our world of live and let live, this has become somewhat offensive. Statements like "You can't tell me what to do!" or "Until you have walked a mile in my shoes..." are used to keep this kind of closeness at arms length.
The truth is that we need each other. So what to do? Give these a try:
1. Take stock of your relationships. Which ones are helping you to grow and which ones are holding you back? Sometimes our friends will hold us back because they don't want to grow themselves. It's more comfortable wallowing in the muck together than watching someone climb out of it and being left alone.
2. Decide to pour into the life-giving relationships and seek out people wiser than yourself and ask them if they will help you to grow. You will be surprised to find that people are ready to help you grow if you are willing to try.
3. Decide to be that kind of person in someone else's life. It's good to receive, but better to give. Pour yourself into others who are not as far down the road of life as you. They and you will both be blessed.
True friends and mentors are worth their weight in gold. Treasure them and become one to others and you will find life to be so much sweeter that you ever dreamed!
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